Republican House leaders like John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan have never had any problem with federal spending that helped their political contributors. They rushed in 2008 to vote for the massive bailout of irresponsible banks and multinational corporations, a scam that raided the U.S. Treasury to protect the wealth and privileges of the wealthiest Americans.
Now, Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor and Budget Committee chair Ryan are so desperate to steer more money to Wall Street that they are leading a bizarre push to block the raising of the debt ceiling — a technical move traditionally accepted by Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives as standard operating procedure in Washington.
The gambit entered an extreme stage Tuesday, when the House voted 318-97 against allowing an unconditional increase to the debt limit. The Republican talk about deficits and debt, but that is not the point of this project. Speaker Boehner, R-Ohio, says the House is holding the federal government hostage in order to impose "major spending cuts and meaningful reforms." House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Michigan, says House has blocked the raising of the debt ceiling to force “significant spending cuts and budgetary reforms.”
But what kind of cuts and "reforms" are they talking about?
Ryan explains: “You cannot deal with this debt crisis unless you’re serious about entitlement reform."
Translation: They are trying to force the Obama White House and congressional Democrats to accept radical changes in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — changes that will begin the process of privatizing these essential programs. Ryan has outlined a plan to restructure Medicare so that federal money is steered away from providing health care and toward a voucher scheme that enriches private for-profit insurance companies. At the same time, he has proposed taking steps to radically alter how Social Security operates, with an eye toward using more retirement dollars to fund Wall Street speculation.
These initiatives are extraordinarily popular with major campaign donors. But polling suggests Ryan’s "reforms" have no appeal among the American people — as recent election results, especially from upstate New York where a traditionally Republican congressional seat fell to the Democrats last month, confirm. The voters are smart. They recognize that instead of proposing a turn toward fiscal responsibility — his plan does not balance the budget for more than a quarter century — Ryan is simply scheming to redistribute the wealth upward.